Prem Watsa, chairman & CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (PINK:FRFHF) (TSE:FFH), and one of the largest shareholders of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) remains a strong supporter of the company’s CEO, Thorstein Heins despite the departure of its founder Mike Lazaridis. Watsa is firm that he will stick with the company.
When Lazaridis announced his departure, he emphasized that he remains one of the largest shareholders of the company, and he has no plans to sell his shares. He started a new computing investment fund, Quantum Valley Investments, and decided to focus on it. He will officially step down as RIM’s vice chairman and director of the board on the May 1. He stepped down as co-CEO of the company in January 2012.
During the annual meeting of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (PINK:FRFHF) (TSE:FFH) on Thursday, Watsa praised Heins and he emphasized that he is doing a great job in leading the company. He is confident that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) will perform well over time. He also described Lazaridis as a technical genius.
Watsa said, “Mike very simply said to us that he was tired. He had a ton of work. He’s going to be a big supporter of the company. He’s not going to sell his shares. He chose Thorsten Heins to be CEO and Thorsten has done an outstanding job in the last year and continues to.”
According to Watsa, he is a “big supporter” of Heins, and considers his promotion the right decision for the company. “It’s not early days. Thorsten has done a tremendous job. He’s got new management into the company and he’s building for the future,” said Watsa.
In addition, Watsa expressed his excitement on the new Blackberry 10 operating system. He believes that there will be sufficient and positive response among Americans once the new Blackberry smartphone with the keyboard version becomes available in the market.
He noted that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has more than 75 million subscribers worldwide, and Blackberry is known for its security features. According to him, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has many advantages, and he also recognized that it was facing a lot of challenges and strong competition from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Watsa’s firm owns more than 51.8 million shares or 9.9 percent stake in Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB). He became interested in investing in the Canadian smartphone manufacturer because of his friendship with Lazaridis. Watsa sits in the board of the company.